It's been an embarrassment of riches for fans eager for the summer 2012 release of The Dark Knight Rises. Earlier this month, a teaser poster for the film, the final installment in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, was released. Then the film's first six minutes began screening before IMAX showings of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. Now, the film's official trailer has hit the web (watch it below), offering glimpses of Anne Hathaway's Catwoman in action, echoes of Occupy Wall Street in Gotham City, and hints of the massive destruction that new villain Bane (played by Tom Hardy) will wreak on the city. Here, five talking points:
1. Catwoman is part of the 99 percent
This looks to be "the first comic book movie for the era of the 99 percent," says Indie Wire. Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) whispers in Bruce Wayne's ear, "There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne… When it hits, you're all going to wonder how you thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." Hold on, says Daniel D. Snyder at The Atlantic. "Female characters have been the weak link" in the last two Batman films, and if Catwoman's only purpose is offering an incongruous Occupy Wall Street angle, she might be nothing more than an "obnoxious distraction."
2. Bruce Wayne — and Batman — remains a mystery
"Where the hell is Batman?" says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. The trailer provides only a few glimpses of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, and even fewer Caped Crusader sightings. The big reveal, however, is Wayne walking around with a cane, says Kristopher Tapley at HitFix, hinting that he is in a very fragile state. Wayne may not have many scenes in the trailer, but he has the most affecting one, says Jeff Jensen at Entertainment Weekly. His mentor Alfred, played by Michael Caine, tells Wayne, "You are as precious to me as you were to your mother and father. I swore to them that I would protect you — and I haven't." That's the trailer's emotional high point.
3. A chilling rendition of the national anthem will haunt you
The trailer opens with a young boy singing the national anthem a capella at a football game, amounting to what may be the most haunting rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" ever, says Indie Wire. "It's a flourish that signals the beginning of a high-stakes game," says Jensen, "and a drama about the current state of the union." The stirring song, combined with protesters' chants later on in the clip, make sound "the most effective part of the trailer," says Rich.
4. The epic destruction of a football field will wow audiences
The sight of a football field being sunk into the ground behind a player racing toward the end zone with the ball is the trailer's "big money shot," says Indie Wire. That "wow" moment "is sure to help get more butts in seats," says Tapley. Well, I'm both "riveted and troubled" by the shot, says Michael Cavna at The Washington Post. The CGI is awfully "thin-looking."
5. The trailer whets fans' appetites — but they're still hungry
The Dark Knight Rises trailer is "far and away the best to be cooked up for any film in the franchise," says Tapley. There's a logical structure, and it resists the temptation to produce the typical action movie montage of explosions and fight scenes. It's all "incredibly impressive," says Indie Wire. Nolan is an expert at making "the stakes of his films look incredibly high." But I still want more, says Sean O'Neal at The A.V. Club. Even with hints at of the film's plot and footage of Anne Hathaway in action, "this new preview is still mostly just a teaser." The "real Batman vs. Bane action" is still obviously being saved for a later date.